Monday, February 27, 2006

Oh to be in the Carribean about now!

This morning I put the finishing touches on the Booga Bag. I had to run it through the dryer on fluff another 60 minutes or so to get it good and dry. I wanted so badly to take it with me to school today, so I was rushing it a little, I suppose. Guess I could have listed a huge lack of patience on my 100 things, too. My impatience paid off though, as it's done! So here's the finished product:
Details of the project:
Pattern: Booga Bag
Yarn: Noro Kureyon color 153, 3 skeins
Needles: 10 1/2 circular and double pointed bamboo
Modifications: I added two pockets to the inside of the purse to give me a place to stow my debit card and IDs and my cell phone. Without adding these, I would have used 2 1/4 skeins.
What would I do different/same next time: I think I could have run the bag through a couple more cycles of hot wash. The fabric isn't quite as dense/felted as I might have liked, and the purse does kind of pool a little bit when it's not very full, but I was afraid of overfelting and shrinking the bag enough that it wouldn't be practical. I've already had a few comments on how cute it is. I absolutely love how the Noro softens up when it's felted, and the colorways are just gorgeous, so doing another one with a different or even the same colorway is definitely in the future. I would also keep the pockets, but I have to find a way to sew them in without puckering the fabric on the outside of the purse. I simply whipstitched them on catching the ladders on the wrong side. Poor technique may have been a culprit. Here's a somewhat blurry shot of the inside of the bag so you can see the pockets. One pocket is larger and deeper than the other. That one's for my IDs and cards. The smaller pocket is for my phone.I needed that instant gratification project. I'm working slowly on the sleeves to the ribby cardi, but I was getting a case of startitis. Thought it would be better to work on something that I had some hope of finishing quickly, so I can concentrate on finishing the cardi. Won't have much time for that over the rest of the week due to a Molecular exam, two lab reports, and a practice MCAT.

We've had more snow today, and I'm so craving a warm retreat right now, so just having this bag in the warm colors of the Carribean perked me up.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The ceremonies are officially closed

Look! It's a blocking Booga bag!
I finished the bag as it was listed in the pattern before the closing ceremonies were over. However, I got a little creative and decided it needed pockets on the inside. So I finished seaming those on about 11:30. Not half bad considering I cast on late yesterday afternoon. The bag went through the wishy washy for about 25 minutes (got a front loader, so felting takes a while longer), and after shaping over a couple of books and an empty box of baby wipes, she's hanging out in the dryer, books and all, on fluff. I'm too impatient to wait for things to dry after blocking. I'm so ready to put the handles on and take this baby for a spin. Congratulations to all the knitters who won gold by finishing on time. And to those who didn't I salute you for having the balls to be in the game in the first place! Mom always said it's not whether you win or lose (or finish even), it's how you played the game.

Olympic Knitting...observed

There's so much Olympic Knitting going on right now, and what with my being a procrastinator and all, I decided at the last minute to see if I could start and finish a project before the closing ceremonies tonight. After a particularly stressful afternoon trying to coerce the boys to clean their room, I decided I needed some knitting therapy. Once the boys were off to snuggleland, I pulled out some Koigu that's been languishing in the stash since Christmas, and cast on for a Booga Bag. A few hours later, here's what I've got:
I love this colorway. If I had to name it, I'd call it Carribean sunset. I think my favorite part of it is the greenish-blue hues. Makes me want a margarita and to laze on the beach. The bag is stuffed with the pieces of my ribby cardi, so when it's felted and blocked it will look much more square and not so uneven. I made one of these for my sister for Christmas and had to fight the urge not to keep it for myself!

Another project I've been working on...or not working on as it were. I got a Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine on Ebay last summer and found another one not long before Christmas. I put the two together and can use them for knitting long expanses of stockinette stitch quite quickly. I made Liam a sweater using the Bond USM, and loved how quickly I turned it out (two days!). He requested a green sweater, and I just love to do a project that someone asks for!
One of the first things I tried to do was an afghan that is "sew as you go." Basically you pick up a stitch from the edge of the first strip and knit it together with the last stitch of the new strip. I used Lion Brand kitchen cotton to work each square, and it's languished in the UFO pile for a long time. I decided to pull it out on my birthday, and finished up a third strip of squares. I didn't have enough yarn in each color to start a fourth row of strips, so I cast off and will call it a throw. I'm thinking I'd like to put a border of some kind on it, probably using the little bits of color I have left. I've never done a mitered corner before, so that might be a good thing to try.
I do like how it turned out, as the colors are so happy and bright. I already washed and dried it to see how much it would shrink up, and it is very soft. It will make a great coverup for those chilly summer days when the air is on, and the basement feels a little chilly. Actually, I think I've decided to make it a gift for someone special.
It's about the size of our kitchen table, so I guess if I'm in the mood to do another one, I'll know what size to make for a tablecloth ;).

Speaking of my birthday, I got a package on Friday from my best friend Lisa. She's so good at sending cards, packages, and things like that. I'm so not good at that. This year she really outdid herself:
I've been wanting a bag like this for a while. The girls on campus these days aren't carrying backpacks. They carry their things in these type of oversized purses. I was actually planning on knitting and felting one, but the time just hasn't presented itself lately, and I'm too tight on budget to allow myself to go buy one. This bag is great. The color is actually a silver gray with a hint of pink in it. It has pockets on 3 of the outside faces and another inside. I think it will be great for keeping me from dragging too much to campus. It's the perfect size for the days books and a little knitting. I can hide a few pens and knitting odds and ends on the inside, too. I think I'll make a changepurse to go inside it where I can hide my IDs and things.

So thanks, best buddy, for thinking of me!

Ok...only a few hours till closing I go!

Friday, February 24, 2006

100 things about me

This was a meme that I've seen on several sites, and I love getting to know other bloggers this way. So here goes!

1. I am a procrastinator of the worst kind. I'm actually surprised that I put this first and didn't put it off until later.
2. Being a procrastinator generally means I force myself to work under undue pressure.
3. I actually thrive under this kind of pressure.
4. I'm a Hoosier by birth, a Buckeye by marriage.
5. I have no idea what the word Hoosier means. But apparently neither does anyone else.
6. If I had my choice of anywhere to live right now, it would be Charleston, S.C.
7. I am not a big fan of prolonged winter. Sure, I like me some snow on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and maybe even New Year's, but unless I'm in the act of skiing, it may as well be above 50 degrees F and sunny. I've been told I'm solar-powered.
8. I do love the way a fresh blanket of snow looks, though. Particularly when it's rained before it and the snow sticks to the trees.
9. I love the outdoors in general.
10. My favorite memories are of spending time with my dad going on hikes through the Dunes National Lakeshore and bonfires in our back yard all night.
11. I used to have to be bribed with Dairy Queen to go on hikes.
12. I plan to do the same things with my kids, but hopefully it won't have to involve bribery...although...Dairy Queen always sounds good.
13. I rode in the Little 500 women's race two consecutive years.
14. The first year we qualified last and finished up two places from there. The second year we qualified 24th and finished 13th.
15. I wrecked in the second year's race and have scars to prove it. Cinders are a real pain to get out. One of our teammates wrecked during the final lap and broke her collarbone.
16. My dad was killed in a work-related accident when I was 19.
17. This has really helped to shape me as a person.
18. I still miss him and think of him daily. I think he would be proud of the adult I've become.
19. I've always been a crafty person.
20. I learned to crochet when I was in middle school.
21. I also learned to do calligraphy in middle school.
22. While I like to do crafty things, I don't think of myself as particularly creative.
23. I like to have a pattern to follow, or I use other people's ideas as a diving board to other things.
24. Disorganization drives me crazy.
25. I'm always disorganized.
26. This drives me crazy.
27. If I were rich, I'd hire a personal organizer who could follow me around and keep me organized.
28. I'm too lazy to stay organized.
29. People often ask me how I do all the things I do.
30. It's because I don't keep my house very clean.
31. Given the choice to run a load of dishes or laundry, I'll sit and knit every time.
32. I get overwhelmed by the enormity of my tasks.
33. This doesn't keep me from taking on more things to do.
34. One day this will catch up with me, and I'll be found during a search and rescue operation under the mound of things I need to do.
35. I'm rarely on time.
36. It takes me about 30 minutes to get showered, primped, and dressed.
37. I could get up 3 hours before I have to go to school and still be late despite the above.
38. I would spend 2 hours and 45 minutes contemplating what to wear, surfing the internet, knitting, or doing something else before getting ready and still be late to class. Procrastination, see?
39. I'm a Pisces.
40. I'm very true to the characteristics of my sign.
41. I've been told that I have a very old soul.
42. I'm the handy one in the house.
43. Yet, I'm now allowed to play with power tools.
44. Probably because I almost cut my finger off with the electric hedge trimmers.
45. If there were a job I could learn to do that is outside of what I think I'm supposed to do, I think it would be carpentry.
46. I'd like to build my own house. With my own hands.
47. I'm into gardening.
48. I'd like to have a garden this year, if I can manage to get the raised beds built for it.
49. That would require renting power tools and having someone else run the cultivator.
50. I'm impulsive.
51. But I like to plan things and write lists.
52. I usually don't get very far on my to do lists because I put too many things on them, and I get overwhelmed by the enormity of what I'd like to do.
53. I've been accused of being a hippie.
54. I'm more a minivan hippie in that I like some of my technology but I'd rather live a more organic lifestyle.
55. I don't look like a hippie.
56. I would like to eat more organic but am not sure why I don't.
57. I was a vegetarian for a semester while in college.
58. My roommate was Jewish and was a vegetarian and played ultimate frisbee, and I wanted to be just like her. Well, I didn't think I wanted to be Jewish, but I thought it was interesting.
59. I lost 10 pounds that semester and felt great. I even played some ultimate frisbee.
60. I never thought of myself as athletic.
61. I still don't particularly think of myself as athletic, but I enjoy doing athletic things.
62. Much like my sign, I am all about the water.
63. I think that's why I'd like to live in Charleston so much. Close to the ocean, warm weather, good food.
64. I'm a great cook.
65. I have my mom to thank for that.
66. I'm a lot like my mom.
67. I'm a lot more like my dad that I used to think.
68. I love looking at my children and seeing the bits of me and the bits of my husband.
69. Becoming a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Well, next to meeting my hubby.
70. We were set up on a blind date.
71. At a fraternity party.
72. There was much drinking involved.
73. He liked me anyway.
74. I believe in destiny.
75. I also believe in love at first sight.
76. I have been accused of having control issues.
77. I'd deny it, but it's true.
78. My oldest is like me in this respect, which can frequently be frustrating.
79. I'm outgoing and shy at the same time.
80. It is difficult for me to make new friends.
81. I have many acquaintances, but very few good friends.
82. I have two best friends.
83. One is my childhood friend, whom I miss very much and don't call enough.
84. My husband is the other.
85. He puts up with me, and I have yet to figure out why.
86. I can be quite demanding. Goes along with the control issues.
87. When I decide I want something, there are very few things that get in my way and keep me from getting it.
88. I used to have a list of three things that I wanted that would make me completely happy.
89. They included a dog, a baby, and a Beetle.
90. I got all three things.
91. I still have a list of three things.
92. The dog drives me crazy. The kids are wonderful but at the same time drive me crazy. The Beetle was a lease and got returned because it wasn't big enough to be a family vehicle. 2 car seats don't fit so well back there, and it's not easy to get in and out of when you're 9 months pregnant.
93. I now drive a minivan. This makes me happy. The Beetle still better fits my personality.
94. I would like to have more children. Maybe two. Hopefully a girl. I'd love to have that mother-daughter bond my mom and I have.
95. I love the mother-son bond my boys and I have.
96. I dig Waldorf education.
97. If we didn't have a Waldorf school so near, I might have considered home schooling.
98. Only I don't have the patience or discipline.
99. I'm not the most patient of people.
100. I'm not always disciplined, unless it's something I really want. Oh...look...I made it to the end!

The big "three-oh"

Today is my birthday, and as much as 30 really doesn't feel any the same time it is. Gone are the 20s. No longer should I just pretend that I am just another 20-something at college. Boy, have I tried! I'm actually blessed with great genetics, and I've been told that I don't look a day over 22, so that makes me pretty happy. Most of the kids in my class are around 20, and they usually act pretty surprised to find that I'm not in my early 20s. I think I will continue to go along pretending that I am still in my 20s until...well...forever sounds pretty good.

Most people make New Year's Resolutions. I quit doing that a while ago, mostly because I know that I'm not so great at sticking with my resolve, and because I'm a procrastinator. Since my birthday follows not far from the New Year, I usually make up my mind to try new things around that time. Another year older, another year wiser, gee, I should try this new thing. Sometimes it works. Most times not, but it doesn't keep me from at least trying.

So, what are the resolutions of a yarn-obsessed now 30-year-old? The same as most people. Maybe lose a few pounds, try to put some organization into my life, not taking things for granted, cherishing the little things a little more. Pretty typical. DH had this great revelation at 29 that he couldn't stand the way he looked and felt. So over the course of the next year before his 30th, he lost 25 pounds and really got into great shape. Since I always seem to be a day late and a dollar short, I've decided to do the same (well...not 25 pounds, because that would just make me too skinny, but 10 sounds pretty good). Actually, I'd like to be able to do some more triathlons this year, and it just isn't gonna happen in my current state of fitness. So I made an appointment to go get my metabolism tested to find out how many calories my body really needs in a day and also to get a fitness assessment to find out what kind of shape I'm really in. I'm all about numbers. Give me a number goal, and I can do just about anything.

The rest of this week leading up to my birthday has been hectic and not exactly fulfilling. I had an organic chemistry exam on Monday, so I spent all last weekend studying. I think I did pretty well on the exam once I got the prof to admit he made mistakes on the exam that he can't dock us points for. What's that Dr. L? You can't make a phenol from benzene using electrophilic addition? It was on the test why?

I have an exam coming up in molecular biology next week, and after realizing that I didn't understand much of the past few days' lecture notes and being completely frustrated, I managed to break down in tears in front of the professor. Not exactly a stellar moment if you're hoping to get a letter of recommendation from said professor. Turns out it was his lack of explanation and detail that were causing the problem, and a visit to office hours put us both at ease.

Then in organic lab yesterday, I leaned up against the stock table as I was dumping my waste into the appropriate container and managed to get unknown chemical concoction of the day all over the front of my jeans. The 5' tall lab coordinator suggested that I remove said pants, and, since I didn't have a spare, offered her extra sweat pants to me. Seeing as they would fit like knickers, I politely declined and instead opted to go to the bathroom and rinse the jeans and my leg. This seemed to take care of the problem until I hit the cold air outside. Uh, yeah...this stuff is making my leg I went directly to the bookstore and bought a pair of KSU sweats to wear. I actually now have a KSU ensemble consisting of t-shirt, zip up hoodie, and sweats.

So far the birthday has been pretty good. I got to sleep in until 9:30, and the boys brought me McDonald's breakfast and a Big Diet Coke, which as anyone who knows me will attest, there are few things I like better than a fountain diet coke from McDonalds. I think it's the ice they use and the extra fizz from the fountain. The caffeine rush from 32 oz. of said drink doesn't hurt, either.

I think I'll spend the rest of the day generally screwing around and doing nothing that I should. I think knitting is definitely in order.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Happiness is....

Taking cue from Kristen and Indigirl, here's what made me happy today:
1. Getting up at 7 am after having gone to bed at 3 am and seeing the look of joy on my oldest's face when he sees that I've finished embroidering all the heart-shaped boxes with his classmates names.
2. L. getting ready for school without a hassle, and being early in getting him to school.
3. Big kisses from J. when he comes home after a sleepover at grandma's and breakfast I didn't have to cook.
4. Shopping in the toy store by myself and not aving to say no to anyone, even myself!
5. Finding bargains on Ryan's Room dolls and Melissa and Doug toys at a local toy store that sells hard-to-find, classic toys that stimulate children's imaginations.
6. Seeing the best toys are the ones that don't make noise and having my children confirm that fact by having a blast.
7. Having 7 Whole Grains Honey Puff Kashi with ice cold milk for dinner because the children already ate dinner with grandma.

I usually don't have class on Fridays (thank goodness), but today was a help session for organic chem, so I ended up on campus. I have a busy weekend of studying ahead of me, so I decided to take the afternoon and relax. While on my way home and childless for the moment, I got sidetracked by --a toy store--. I drive past every day on my way to campus, and I always think that I should stop in some time and see what's on sale.

L. is in an in-between stage at the moment. The past couple of years have been all about Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder for him, but he is showing waning interest in these things. It's difficult to find other things that he's interested in. He's to the point now where computer games and TV are the thing to do. I don't mind if he plays a little bit of computer games (usually timed to J.'s nap to keep things quiet) of the JumpStart variety (no more than 30 minutes) or watch a little Noggin or something on the Discovery Science channel (again, no more than 60 minutes), but that's all he wants to do these days.

So being able to go into the store today without the kids was heaven. I browsed for over an hour. Long enough for the folks working the store to wonder if I was casing the joint for a stickup. This store actually is very child friendly, and I'm sure J. would have been working the train table pretty hard, but it is much easier to shop sans children, no matter what kind of shopping I'm doing. I came away with a few toys and some great ideas for things I'd like to do. More on all that another time. Off to catch up on a little sleep!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What a tease...

The weather here has been lovely the past few days...mid to upper 50s with enough humidity in the air to make it feel a bit warmer. I'd swear that it's close to 60 out right now even after dark. Tomorrow? Back into the chilla with the temps dropping down into the 20s. Ugh. I did get a chance to get out last night and go for a run with the black dog. So nice. I really gotta get back to doing that more regularly. I think the mutt would appreciate it, as would my waistline!

Thursday is the same deal as Tuesday. Yesterday was busy with class, studying, and MCAT prep stuff. By the time I got home it was after 9. By the time I finished my run it was 11 (long story...but it involves my not being able to locate my fanny with both hands. My mom understands what I'm like), and by the time I got in bed it was shortly after midnight. Alarm at 5:45, to school by 7:45, work like a beast on the lab report that's due by 5pm, run to pick up L., come home and try to finish the Valentine's things that L. needs to take to school tomorrow morning. I'll breathe later.

So tonight's craft is this:
The heart-shaped box is felt and was on sale 75% off, so they were .90 at JoAnn's. Got enough for the class and the teachers. They look hand-made, so I figured I could pass them off as my own handiwork. Ok, maybe they all know I'm in school and don't have time for such things because, well, there's knitting that needs to be done too. I did decide to embroider each child's name on the top of the box (so I can say I did something crafty). The card is a traced heart cut from pink card-stock upon which L. lovingly placed a sticky foam heart. The backs of the cards are each autographed, and L. traced a heart shape with crayon.

I am in love with these foam shapes. They have all different shapes and themes, and they have adhesive on the back so you can stick them to things. L. made ornaments for christmas with them, and they were adorable. Anyway, I digress...inside the box are also a couple of glass jewels (they are given frequently in Waldorf as "treasures") and a few "Sweet-Hearts" with the clever sayings on them. I had to check to make sure they didn't have any p0rn on them.

L. did find one in particular that he set aside that quoted, "Marry Me." I assumed he was going to give it to A., one of his classmates. He said, "Mom, make sure that one gets in La's box. She asked me to marry her, and I thought about it for a few minutes and decided, yes, I love her, so I'll marry her." This came as quite a shock, as I was sure he was in love with A., as the mere mention of her name causes him to melt into a puddle on the floor. I've literally seen him get weak in the knees and fall down in front of her. So I ask, "But I thought you loved A." He, being a boy who knows how to divide his affections, replies, "I do. But I'm going to marry La because she asked me." A. also happens to be an older woman who will be off to first grade next year, and he's not into uncertainty in a relationship.

Knitting progress of my cardi posted here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Balancetimes Day!

Tuesdays are rough for me. I am so not a morning person, despite efforts to the contrary. I could go to bed at 6 pm and still have problems getting up at 5 am the next morning. DH manages on most work days to be up by 6 at the latest and gets his workout in. I am not nearly so disciplined. So, having to get up at 5:45 am so I can make it to 7:45 am lab after having been in class until 9 pm the previous night and not getting to bed until 11:00 makes for a sleepy bunnie on Tuesdays. Wash, rinse, and repeat that for Thursday, too.

I did actually manage to make it out of the house semi on time, time enough that I thought to grab my camera, but not in time enough to get my lab procedure written before I left. I get out of the house about 7:15 or so, which these days is just in time for the sun to be rising. The sunrises the past few days have actually been quite stunning, and this morning was no exception. I wished I had my camera yesterday, because the sun made a lovely orange sunbeam pointed straight toward the heavens as it peeked out of the clouds. Breathtaking.

This morning's sunrise lit up all the contrails going across the sky and turned them a really pretty silver. I wasn't at a stoplight long enough to capture good ones, and by the time I hit campus, the lighting wasn't right. I did, however, capture this shot on my way into the chemistry building. No surprise, it's a little blurry, but I was hustling to get to class.

L.'ism for the day: (in the car on the way home) "Mom, when is the Furby movie coming out?" Me: "Furby movie? I don't think there is one." L: "But there's a toy (gotta love Happy Meals), so there must be a movie. That's how it goes. First there's a movie, then there's a toy." So much for thinking my kids would be immune to the whole consumerism thing.

Today is Self-Portrait Tuesday (I'm not a member, but thought posting a pic of myself might be interesting). I don't see myself as being particularly photogenic. Ok...I don't think I'm photogenic at all, but that's another story. Sorry for the flash, but couldn't figure out how to avoid it. I'm sure there's some great secret that I'm missing out on. Clue anyone? Oh, and the flecks are spots on the bathroom mirror. It's great fun to splash and spit on. Just ask my 5-year-old.

No special plans for Valentine's day. Just having dinner with the family and going to bed. J. pronounces Valentine's "balancetimes," so Happy Balancetimes Day to you all! Knitting content is forthcoming!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Midnight ramblings

One of these days I'll get around to taking a photography class so I can take decent pictures with my digital camera. Give me old fashioned film and a manual focus, and I can take great pictures, but digital is hit or miss.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that everything outside was bathed in blue light. I took a peek outside, and sure enough, full moon at the zenith of the sky. It was perfectly round, and there were hazy clouds creeping past it. A haunting kind of moon. So I get all inspired and whip out the camera hoping to grab a great shot of it.

Go into the light, Carol Anne....
Surely not what I intended to capture.

The tabby cats were definitely possessed by the full moon. One of these days I'll figure out how to photoshop that out too without making them look like they've had their eyes dilated at the optometrist.

I gave up and went to bed.

Night time is one of my favorite times, mostly because there is sleep involved, and hey, who doesn't love sleep, but also because I get to snuggle on my favorite guys. L. moved to his own bed when he was 3, but he occasionally ends up in bed with us because he snuggles his brother to sleep. J. still sleeps with us at night, despite giving up nursing at night not long after he turned 2. I love having them in bed with us because I love the extra snuggles, the sweet sleeping faces, the sounds of their breathing, and the occasional sleep talk. Last night was no exception.

L. had fallen asleep in our bed because he had snuggled J. to sleep, so I had DH move the 50 pounds of sleeping preschooler back to his bed. The shuffling in bed woke J. up, and as I came to bed he asked, "Mommy, where are your nipples?" He does still occasionally as for his "nigh-nigh nuh" when I come to bed, but he hasn't actually had any for quite a long time and usually doesn't refer to my parts so anatomically correct, so I was a little surprised by his question. "Why?" I ask. "Because I just love them," he says, and then he wrapped his arms around my neck and snuggled in. "I just love you too," he punctuated with and off he went back to sleep. Silly thing. Nice to know my nipples aren't my only redeeming quality.

He got a hair cut this morning, which I do myself to save a little money, but mostly to save sanity. Taking him someplace and expecting him to sit still (even at the ones that have the videos) is asking a bit much of him. I always end up coming home and touching it up anyway (ther perfectionist in me), so I figured I'd be better off to do it myself. He gets to watch his favorite video while I trim it up (all done with scissors), and there is some squirming, so it's never perfect, but for someone not professionally trained, I don't think I do too bad a job. He always looks at least a year older by the time I'm finished with him.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's getting hot in here...

Our first fire of the year in our woodburning stove. We haven't had one since I was pregnant with L., and I missed it. There is something about fire that I absolutely love. It is definitely associated with so many positive memories, like the summer evenings we would do bonfires and I would chat with my mom until the wee hours of the morning watching the stars do their dance across the sky. I feel warmed from the inside out, counterintuitive to what fire is supposed to do. I turned the thermostat off, and we're going to let the stove heat the house for the rest of the day...ahhhh....all I need now is a little knitting and good TV.

Speaking of knitting, I was just interviewed by phone for an article to appear in this semester's Artemis, a campus magazine dealing with women's issues. I'll have to wait and see how it turns out. Apparently when the magazine asked the organizer of the knitting thing on campus last week for an interview, they gave the reporter my contact info. I was really honored by that. Anyway, we'll see how it goes!

Joining KALs and rings

I'm still working on figuring out how to work this blog thing. The only way I've figured out how to upload pictures involves actually having to post them here first.

Sooo...I'm joining the Ribbi Cardi along and the Ohio Knitters web ring....and since I don't think I'd have time to actually start and finish an item during the Olympics, I'll just be a watcher!
(Thanks to for the olympic button)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Knitting Content Ahead...

I promised some knitting content, and here it is...I finished the Cashmere and Pearls lace scarf that I'd been working on for my sister-in-law for Christmas. She had given me the yarn since the pattern she was hoping to use it for wasn't working out for her, and I wanted to give her something lacey made with it. It didn't get finished for Christmas (I was oh so close!), and it has been sitting waiting for blocking since not long after the new year.

In general, I am opposed to blocking. I'm the kind of girl that wants to knit it and quit it. Once it's off the needles, I really hate having to do the seaming, weaving in of ends, and most definitely the blocking. The blocking in particular because that's time that I could actually be using/wearing said garment, even though blocking usually makes said item look more professional, fixes wonky folds around ribbing, that sort of thing.

In knitting L.'s doll blankie, I did a simple stockinette square with 3 rows of seed stitch around the edges. Anytime I do a ribbing or seed stitch edging, I always end up with it wanting to fold over where the edging meets the stockinette. I didn't want his blanket looking wonky, and I'd found my hand steamer while cleaning out the utility room about a month ago, so I resolved to steam the blanket into submission. And steam I did.

I am now a blocking convert. It really helped to relax the stitches, give the piece some body, and generally made it look great. Wish I'd taken a pic so I could show you.

I was so excited by how nicely it made the blanket look and how relatively simple it was that I took the steamer to Cashmere and Pearls. I just laid the scarf on a thick towel, stretched it just enough to give the lacework definition, and pinned it to the towel. Then I took the steamer and went over the whole scarf. The results were fantastic. I don't have any "in process" shots to show, but I do have finished pics of the scarf.

I photographed the scarf in front of our picture window, so there are some funny shadows. Also, and I'm not sure why, likely my photographic inexperience, the left stitches don't look as nice as the right side. I assure you both sides are equal. I also wanted to show a closeup so you could see the beads, silver-lined small glass beads. It gives just a bit of sparkle. I could still add tassles if I want (the photo at Sivia's site shows with and without), but I'm still not sure what I want to do. Since this is a gift, I suppose I could ask the recipient what she would like! I have enough yarn left to do another entire scarf, and it's so tempting to keep this one for myself and knit a new one, but given my time constraints these days, it's hard to tell when that might happen.

Here are the details:
Pattern: Mary Ann's Cashmere and Pearls Lace Scarf
Yarn: Kid Seta, color unknown (it's a little darker green than the pic shows)
Needles: Size 5 (3.75 mm) or 6...can't remember what I used!
Any changes I would make/made: I made no changes to the pattern. Charts were included, and I used those and numbered the rows to make things easier for myself. I used a scrap sheet of paper and hashmarked each row out instead of using a row counter. That way I knew what repeat I was on. The beads were placed on by hooking the stitch with a small piece of tiger tail (I didn't have a crochet needle small enough and wasn't about to buy one!) that had the beads strung on it (like the photos in the pattern). When I do this pattern again, I'll prestring my beads and drop them down instead. Hooking the stitches took too long, and with the mohair haze, I was constantly snagging somewhere I wasn't intending to. Overall, I loved this pattern, and I'm so proud of how it turned first real intricate lace project. I wore the scarf to the shin-dig below and got many comments. I could barely leave the room what with my big head and all.

The college I'm attending has a "cyber-cafe" down in the basement of the student center where all the quirky people (yup...that includes me) hang out. There's a Starbucks type coffee shop with brownie bricks the size of a small cake for dirt cheap, great hot chocolate, and occasionally good music. How good the music is depends on who happens to be running the register that day. It's a strange mix most days with some harder metal type music, latino beats, the occasional classic rock tune, and some odd jazz instrumental (and don't get me wrong, I like me a jazz tune most of the time). Anyway, there are always flyers and things on the table for programs and things to do while in the student center on any given afternoon/evening of the week. They had been putting out a flyer recently for a "get down to the knitty gritty" thing that was going to be going on. Learn to needles, free yarn, food, and prizes. Count me in. I have enough yarn and needles, but I thought they might need some help teaching the newbies.

I showed up and was quite surprised at the number of people that showed up, in particular...the few brave boys who showed up interested in picking up some sticks. I spent my entire time there showing people the ropes, and I loved every minute of it!! Oh, how I would love to teach a regular class. The program director snapped plenty of shots of us all working together. Someone from an independent campus women's magazine (meaning not the regular newspaper) came and snapped photos and emailed me to interview me for an article she's writing. Fun!


J. has a lot to say these days. He's gone from the strong silent type to chatterbug in a matter of a few months. He's also the one I have to watch like a hawk or he's balancing the chair perilously on top of something with wheels while holding lit matches and juggling knives. Ok..he's not that bad, but he is the busy one of the two boys. Along with his newfound vocabulary, he's also come up with some stuff of his own, similar to L.'s "da beet, da bat, da boom," that was a frequent phrase when he was about the same age.

For your reading enjoyment, the poetry of J.
"Uh, oh. I think we doodied...Daah doof...we doodied." This phrase is actually completely unrelated to using the bathroom, believe it or not. It's more something he says when he's crashing something into something else.
"Twinkle, twinkle little much I love you too..."
"Come on naynee...go potty." (said to penis while standing and leaning over the potty. Apparently some penises need encouraging.)
"Bing, bonk, bing, bonk." (said while poking something...usually his brother's head.

I went to the school store this morning. There is something about this place and the office supply store, and any craft store that just make me incapable of restraint. I would like to blame it on errant glue fumes or something, but I know that's not the case. It surely brings out my inner child!

The rainbow silk is for the kids to have fun with. It can be a cape, a skirt, a blanket, and oh so many other things. The wand with the silk streamer is for the kids to do whatever they like with. J. disassembled the display of them in the store, and got it for him to keep him occupied while I shopped. The box of beeswax modeling bricks will become figurines for our nature table (which I have not yet started). The wool in the bag was actually purchased for Pam and Starbaby when I made them for the kids for Christmas the year before last, as was the brown mohair yarn. These, along with the peach knit fabric and the purple felt, will become a queen, and perhaps another character to join L.'s king doll. I didn't want the king to feel lonely for long.

I cast a spell on you! Bing, bonk, bing, bonk!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Five and a half!!!

L. had his half-birthday celebration (since his birthday is in the summer) at school yesterday, and it was lovely. Ms. O asked me ahead of time to provide some background info on things that he may have done or learned in his first five years of life. It was difficult to pin down just a couple of things for 5 years' worth of time. It was overwhelming when I realized everything he's learned in such a short amount of time. Ms. O made a point to let us know that she was so pleased to read the things I wrote about our fine young man. I think one of my favorite memories is one of the things I wrote about his birth. In the hospital, I wouldn't let him sleep in the isolette, despite the fact that it was against the rules. I had spent so long waiting for him that I didn't want him to be even a few feet from me, cold and alone. I wanted him to still hear my heartbeat and feel my warmth. I wanted to smell the newness of him and feel like we were still two as one. Even at five and a half, he can come and climb in my lap and snuggle his head into my shoulder, and I still feel that connection.

The ceremony they had at the school was still as sweet as last year's. I can never remember the exact words of the story they tell, but the jist of it is that the child is in the heavens wishing for a family. The angels search the world looking for just the perfect family for the child. When they find the right one, the angels whisper to the parents that a child is coming. The parents to be prepare just the right things for the new baby. Then the child travels with the angels past the stars, past the moon, and over the rainbow bridge. On the other side, the parents wait to bring the new child into their family. The teacher leads the child around the class as she tells the story, and at the close, she leads the child over the "rainbow bridge," which is a small platform with steps on either side, to the waiting parents. L. was so serious about this task and so handsome in his crown and cape.

I provided peanut butter and jelly muffins for the snack, and they were well enjoyed by the children despite my leaving the baking powder out of the recipe by accident. I knew the recipe must call for baking powder, so I read the recipe through twice, and didn't see it before I added the wet to the dry. Apparently my reading cap wasn't on, as I read right over the part that called for 2.5 teaspoons of the stuff! As the muffins were rising in the oven, I kept thinking that the jelly was bubbling up an awful lot...and they were looking pretty flat! Ms. O likened them to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just the right size for little fingers, she said...and get this...she asked for the recipe! I don't think I'll be leaving out the baking powder again any time soon.

As a part of the celebration, Ms. O suggested that I could make something for L.'s doll at school as a gift for his half-birthday. Not being one to pass up an opportunity to be crafty, I knit up a blankie for the doll out of some rainbow variegated yarn. It turned out lovely, and I failed to get a picture of it to post. I'm working on a pillow to go with it, so I'll post that when I get it finished. L. also received a gift from Ms. O, and I have to say that I'm more in love with it than he is!He has lovely mohair hair and a felt cape and crown. He's like the large wooden dolls they play with at school, only this one is all soft and stuffed with wool. I think he needs a queen...and a prince...and a princess... I'll have to get some skin fabric, gauze and wool for the head, but I have plenty of flannel.

So here is His Royal Highness King L. hanging on to his smaller twin while wearing his own crown studded with 5 large and 1 small jewels.
The doll also had a pouch in which there was a surprise....
Jewels!! Mr. J. could not be left out of the excitement and tried posing for the camera. I still have a hard time getting the digital to focus when Mr. Man is in motion, but I'll get it yet!

I never thought when I was thinking about blogging that I would have so much to say....but really, I do!! There's the play dates, the knitting that I've finished, being interviewed for a couple of articles, stuff with school...Wow!

This bunnie can hardly keep her eyes open, so I'm off to bed. "Messkimos" (J.'s way of saying Eskimo kisses) to all!


Ok...I've finally decided to join the world of blogging! Check here to see updates of the kids, pictures of work in progress, and general musings on the life of our family!!